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How To Deal With Negative People -- Part 2

Aug 17, 2007
In How To Deal With Negative People -- Part 2, we discussed the two types of negative people and your number one strategy for dealing with them.

As you may recall, your number one strategy for dealing with both "Obvious Negatives" and "Insidious Negatives" is to AVOID them.

But... sometimes you just CAN'T avoid them. They may be family, or in-laws, or neighbors, or people you work with.

So how do you protect yourself from being negatively affected (or "infected") by these negative people?

Here are my suggestions:

1. Build up your immunity!

As a reader of this article, you're already doing this, but other strategies include:

-- Surrounding yourself with positive people;

-- Doing things that make you happy;

-- Looking after your health;

-- Appreciating the funny side of things (laugh regularly!);

-- Taking pride in how you look and present yourself;

-- Being thankful for all the good things and people in your life;

-- Reading and learning about -- and from -- inspiring people; and

-- As the song goes, "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative" (Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen).

Sounds corny, but I really can't say it any better than Bing Crosby sang it! (And this doesn't mean ignoring bad or tragic circumstances -- just taking steps to eliminate the negative consequences).

Do all these things you'll be close to invincible against other people's negativity!

2. Limit your exposure.

Although you can't avoid some negative people, you may be able to LIMIT your exposure to them. If they're family or in-laws, interact with them only as required to fulfill your family responsibilities.

If they're work colleagues, keep your interactions to the job at hand. Don't socialize with them out of work or engage in gossip or discussions that degenerate into rants or complaining.

3. Solve the problem or change the subject.

Let's face it -- limiting your exposure may only work to a point. I mean, what if a work colleague is negative about the work at hand, or even worse, YOUR work, or even YOU?

Well, depending on the situation, your best bet is to address their complaint in order to solve the "problem" or, if nothing is likely to satisfy them, change the subject to something more positive.

For example, if they're complaining about the company, the boss or you... you might say, "so what can we do about this?" or "what can I do to make this right?"

What you're doing is moving the discussion from something negative (the perceived problem) to something positive (the solution).

Of course, there are some people who don't want to know about solutions (they'd rather complain or wallow in self-pity)!

With people like these, you're better off changing the subject altogether.

For instance, if the person is complaining about the company, you might comment about something else that the company is doing right.

Or... you could always break into song. (Hey, if you don't think this could happen you haven't worked in a big law firm with 100-year-old partners!)

So there you have it -- some tips for dealing with negative people. Use them and enjoy more positive relationships!
About the Author
Anna Johnson is the author of the How To Manage People System, including her book, How To Manage People (Even If You're A Control Freak!). Get Anna's FREE 12-page report How To Be An Outstanding Manager - The 8 Vital Keys To Managing People Effectively
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